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Community threatens to shutdown oil firm in two weeks over differences

By Egufe Yafugborhi

PORT HARCOURT—AGGE people in Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, have given Sterling Oil Exploration and Production Company, SEEPCo, Nigeria Limited, two weeks to settle its issue with host community or have the firm’s operations shut down.

The ultimatum by the community, which will expire on June 20, follows months of Agge leaders’ disagreement with the indigenous oil firm over the parties’ Global Memorandum of Understanding, GMoU, development projects, employment slots, levies and royalties.

The ultimatum to the company by Chairman and Secretary of Agge Federated Communities, Germain Irou and Erastus Orukemezuogha, obtained by Vanguard in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said: “We may shut down your operations unless all issues contained in our four separate letters are resolved.

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“For avoidance of doubt, the issues for which we want urgent resolution are, your refusal to renew the expired GMoUs, six months into a new year of expiration/and two months dredging of the Agge River Ramos without statutory approval and agreement with Agge.

“There is the issue of operations of Yade Barge in the Agge area and your refusal to pay land rents. Other issues raised are the construction of land reclamation, shore protection wall/sand-filling and three full time employment slots and month royalties amounting to N360,000.”

SEEPCO’s Community Liaison Officer, Konyefa Erebi, could not be reached for comment, but Irou noted that the company could avoid the planned confrontation if it “creates proper forum where the issues in dispute in the River Ramos area could be resolved.

“If they remain obstinate as they have done since the beginning of the year, we have no choice than to close their operations.”

 

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